When a diverse group of Latino leaders convene for the American Latino National Summit this week, they will put forward an agenda that summarizes the important issues affecting the Latino community.
The summit will be held in San Antonio on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is organized by the New America Alliance Institute, whose mission is to advance the economic development of the Latino community.
The purpose of the summit is to present an American Latino agenda that is centered on economic drivers, Maria del Pilar Avila, CEO of the New America Alliance, said in an interview with VOXXI.
The agenda, which will be released during the summit, comes as the November midterm elections approach.
Avila said the agenda is meant to help candidates understand that immigration is not the only issue Latinos care about. She said that among the top issues that are important to Latinos are education, the economy and healthcare.
Experts from these fields will participate in panel discussions at the summit. There will also be experts from groups like the Pew Research Center and Latino Decisions who will hold a discussion over the power of the Latino vote.
In addition, several Latino and immigrant entrepreneurs will talk about their journeys to entrepreneurial success.
We want to ensure that not only are we presenting an agenda, but also highlighting some of the brightest minds across the country around these issues that Latinos care about, Avila said.
This is the second time that the NAA Institute hosts the American Latino National Summit. The first one was held in Miami in 2012. The organization says it plans to continue hosting summits in election years to amplify the issues Latinos care about.
Avila said the idea for the summit came up after NAA members showed great concern over the very unfortunate and wrong depiction of Latinos during the 2010 elections. It seemed that all of us were painted with the same brush, and it was definitely not a positive depiction, she said.
This latest summit comes at a time when the NAA is celebrating its 15th year anniversary. The group was founded in 1999 by Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development, and by Raul Yzaguirre, former president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.
Avila, who was the groups founding executive director, said the purpose of the NAA is to bring together a group of successful Latinos from different backgrounds to address areas of opportunity for the Latino community.
The notion is that in the aggregation of these very successful Latinos and the aggregation of their influence, we ought to be able to move certain agendas more efficiently, faster and with a higher rate of success, she said.
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